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Have Your Checked Your Trailer?

By P/C Woods McGinn, AP

When was the last time you checked your trailer? In the past two weekends I have seen three trailer accidents. Each acccident made me wonder what had gone wrong, and what might - no, what should have been done to avoid these unfortunate incidents.
A double-axle utility trailer sitting on the roadside of I-85 had lost one right-side tire and the second right-side wheel assembly, hub and all! But I didn't feet threatened; and that accident had probably occurred hours or days ago.
On Saturday we saw another utility trailer, this one entangled in the sagety cables dividing the north and south-bound lanes of I-85. The SUV tow vehicle had just "rejoined" its trailer. Several passengers from the SUV stood pondering the twisted trailer tongue, the trailer in the web of cables, and its contents scattered along the median. And I felt safe with the thought that those cables, just minutes ago, had stopped and out-of-control vehicle from crossing over the median and into my northbound lanes of 70+ MPH highway cruisers.
On the previous Saturday afternoon we had been in Charleston, SC, wondering why the traffic was so slow crossing the Cooper River on the grand old, narrow, one-way Grace Memorial Bridge. At the downtown end of the bridge we found "the delay." A big bow-rider, something like a 24-foot Sea Ray, was sitting on the down slope. The boat was still on the trailer, but the trailer had neither tow vehicle nor axles! There was just a boat, nicely strapped to the trailer, sitting upright on the pavement, with the I/O outdrive resting on the tarmac (it looked like she might need a new prop). Two axles had already been retrieved and loaded in the pickup truck that seemed to belong with the boat. A policeman was directing traffic around the confusion. But I didn't feel safe this time. Only fate, or good fortune, had helped us avoid what might have become a very serious accident above (or within?) the spartina and pluff mud flats of the Cooper River
So, when was the last time you really checked your trailer? Before lauching this spring, you should inspect it all; the tow vehicle, hitch assembly, safety chains & tie-downs; the electrical & brake systems, tires, wheels, hubs, axles and frame and all the components that hold it together. The next time I see your boat, I hope it's on the water and not on the asphalt!

Boat Smart From The Start - Wear Your PFD

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Updated 01 Apr 19